QUEENSLANDER Jacob Heron will make history at Jiangwan Stadium on Saturday when he becomes the first player to make his AFL debut in China.
And he could be in for an initiation of fire after Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley warned his side to be prepared to match a fired-up Suns outfit seeking redemption.
“They will be fired up to be honest, they come here with a bit of venom,’’ he said.
The Suns brought Heron, a jet-heeled Cairns product and academy graduate, via the production line that is the Palm Beach-Currumbin high school, into the side to replace suspended forward Sam Day.
Although Peter Wright travelled with the team Dew stuck with his original belief that he needed another week in the NEAFL after along lay off with a calf injury.
Heron becomes the third debutant this season after Charlie Ballard and Brayden Crossley both began their careers against the Bulldogs in Ballarat.
“Jacob is in the team because he gives us some excitement.
Jacob Heron in action for the Suns’ NEAFL side. Picture: Mike BatterhamSource:News Corp Australia
“He’s a product of our academy but also his nickname is speedy and that is what he has got, he’s got some pace and we feel like he can inject some into this footy side.
Dew said although every player cherished and remembered their AFL debut, he conceded the novelty factor gave Herron a story he could tell forever.
However, he said Herron had travelled with the side to Perth earlier in the season when the Suns played back to back games at Optus Stadium so he had some experience with being on the road.
He also revealed there had been some internal one upmanship between Herron and Charlie Ballard who made his debut two weeks ago against the Bulldogs in Ballarat.
“We’ve talked about it, Charlie Ballard was saying his was unique in Ballarat but Speedy has got one up on him,’’ he said.
Gold Coast skipper Steven May, coach Stuart Dew and Port coach Ken Hinkley and captain Travis Boak at Thursday’s press conference. Pic: AAPSource:AAP
“The players are pretty attuned to the four quarters stuff, now it is a little bit different because of the travel but we brought him over to Perth a while ago to get a little bit of experience around travel so it isn’t such an eye opener for him.
“Obviously Shanghai is a fair eye opener but we are confident he can bring us some real energy, he’s a good lad.’’
Port Adelaide wingman Jared Polec has arrived safely in China after a health scare earlier in the week.
The club initially feared the 25-year-old former Brisbane Lion had appendicitis.
“He’s fine,” Hinkley said.
“There was a bit of a scare early in the week, there was some chance he had appendicitis, but he got through OK and he’s arrived this afternoon.”